Murder and mystery in La Sal 

Okay, this is not a real murder, though there have been a couple of those in the history of our village. What I refer to now is a night of fun and games. It’s a murder mystery dinner.

The movers and shakers behind this night of fun are the Johnson family, with Ma Kristl the main force. It all gets underway on April 30 at the community center. Sounds like a fun night.

For more details check in at La Sal Barter and Trade on Facebook. I’d do it, but FB and I are still divorced.

Hopefully, we won’t get 18 inches of snow to cancel the evening as happened the last time the Johnson family planned a community doing. 

A sign that things are kind of getting back to normal will be the KABOOMING on May 8. Yes it’s the return of the only-in-La-Sal dynamite shot. It has been a while since our windows have been shaken.

Again, check Facebook for more details. This is sponsored by the local volunteer fire department and is a fundraiser for them. 

A sign of the changing of the seasons is a new feature in La Sal. Starting last Saturday, a farmer’s market will be held at the community center on Saturdays. It must be spring.  

Thursday night is the next meeting of the La Sal Literary Guild. Our read is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. It is a look into slavery in its ugliness and the efforts of two sisters in trying to change people’s views. 

Now for a real murder mystery from 1921.

A man by the name of Lemuel “Slim” Hecox lived at the Cashin Mine between La Sal and Paradox. He had a lot of bravado and liked to carry around a lot of cash in a money belt at his waist. He was a real braggart, especially when drunk. He also wore two pistols strapped to his hips.

He’d gone to Bedrock one day and told folks he’d be back in a couple of days to pick up supplies. When he didn’t come back as promised, they got a little worried.

J.T. Gazaway, who lived on La Sal Creek, passed by Hecox’s cabin. He looked inside a saw a lot of blood, but the cabin was locked. He rode on into Bedrock and reported what he’d seen.

A couple men went back to the cabin and found the body of Hecox hidden under a pile of oats in the back room. The interesting thing was that they found the body of Hecox, but without his head. 

The body was taken back to Bedrock where an inquest was convened. It was surmised that the murderer(s) cut off the head to hide the way the murder was committed.

His money belt was missing, but his .45 gun and a handfull of shells were planted under his hand. A search did not turn up the money belt or the severed head. The body was buried sans noggin. 

Prior to burial, the body was placed on the back porch of the old Bedrock Hotel and covered with a tarp. A young man learned of the body, and even though he had been told to stay away, he could not resist taking a peek.

He and his friend sneaked over and pulled the tarp back to see a bloody stump. They all screamed and ran away.

When the coroners jury came later to view the body, the tarp was still pulled back and chickens were all over the stump picking out the oats that had stuck to the blood.

One old chicken was backing away with a blood vein in its beak like a bird pulling a worm out of the ground. This was a bit much for a few weak stomachs and for a while no one wanted to eat any eggs laid in Bedrock.  

A lot of investigative work went into finally identifying the murders and recovering much of Hecox’s money.

The murder suspects also revealed the location of the severed head which was buried near La Sal Creek. Gazaway was one of the murderes. 

If you want to read the whole story, check out the Fall 2007 issue of the Blue Mountain Shadows magazine.

It’s a very interesting read. I mean, is this gory enough of a murder mystery for you?

San Juan Record

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